Friday, June 25, 2010


We started keeping bees about three years ago primarily as a way to repopulate a disappearing community. If we got some honey, all the better, but it wasn't our goal. Of course, now that we have had two successful honey harvests I want the honey, too. Anyway, a couple months ago I needed a work break and stepped outside for a walk in the garden. I noticed a lot of activity around our two beehives and I got nervous. Last year our bees swarmed five times. Each time around 20,000 of the little buzzers took off to set up house on their own (which we always hoped was not in the side of one of our outbuildings). The upside, we were doing our part to help the honeybee by repopulating the community. The downside, we were worried that the queen who was left to reign might not be up to her calling and thus, leaving us with no honey to harvest. Turns out, we were lucky and the bees were successful all around.

But this was another season. Not eager to get back to my desk, I stood and watched and soon realized the bees really were swarming. Not again, I thought. I've grown to depend on the honey as have many people in our community. Who knew what sort of queen we'd be left with (if we were left with a queen at all). Andrew saw things a little differently. He was convinced that once they landed, I could capture the swarm. This was easy for him to say because his arm was in a sling from a surgery and he would be unable to help. He was talking about me catching thousands and thousands of bees. Part of me wanted to let them buzz off, but another part of me was craving excitement and more honey. It just so happened that we had an empty hive body that was built last winter just in case we decided to expand. I gathered the equipment and donned my bee suit while my one-armed husband watched and directed me catching the swarm.

It was a remarkable experience. I walked away feeling like a rock star. We checked on the hive a week later and there was proof that the queen liked her new digs. Larva filled the cells. Now I'm totally buzzed.

No comments:

Post a Comment